Athabasca Chipewayan Chief Allan Adam is shown in a handout photo. The chief of a northern Alberta First Nation is calling for the government to investigate after he alleges RCMP assaulted him during an arrest that he says began over a simple matter of expired registration tags on his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Allan Adam MANDATORY CREDIT

Athabasca Chipewayan Chief Allan Adam is shown in a handout photo. The chief of a northern Alberta First Nation is calling for the government to investigate after he alleges RCMP assaulted him during an arrest that he says began over a simple matter of expired registration tags on his truck. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Allan Adam MANDATORY CREDIT

Ministers concerned by brutality claims during Indigenous chief’s arrest

Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam said he was the victim of police brutality

Canada’s public safety minister says the government will be paying close attention to the independent inquiry into allegations of racism and police brutality brought forward by a First Nations chief, while another minister called the chief’s account “deeply troubling.”

Public Safety Minister Bill Blair, who is a former Toronto police chief, says in a tweet that the government is “deeply concerned” by the allegations, which were made Saturday by Athabasca Chipewyan Chief Allan Adam.

Adam told a news conference that he was beaten by RCMP officers and that his wife was manhandled in March when police stopped him for an expired licence plate outside a casino in Fort McMurray.

The Alberta Serious Incident Response Team, an independent body which investigates deaths or injuries involving police, said later that day that it will investigate the incident.

Adam is facing charges of resisting arrest and assaulting police, and RCMP say the officers needed to use force during the arrest.

READ MORE: Indigenous chief alleges RCMP beat him during arrest that began over expired licence plate

Indigenous Services Minister Marc Miller says in a tweet that he’s spoken twice with Adam this weekend, and that he was disturbed by what the chief told him.

“His description of the incident in Fort McMurray and the use of force on both his wife and him at the hands of the RCMP is deeply troubling,” Miller wrote.

News of the allegations and a photo that Adam released of himself with injuries he says he sustained during the incident have received widespread attention as anti-racism rallies continue to attract large crowds across the country.

“We are deeply concerned by the incident that took place in Fort McMurray. People across the country deserve answers,” Blair tweeted Sunday.

“There will be an independent investigation, which we will be following closely.”

Adam said a police vehicle pulled up behind his truck while he was moving a child seat at around 2 a.m. on March 10. He said he asked the officer why police were harassing him and told him who he was, and he said he told the officer he would raise the matter with his superior.

Adam said he made his way back into his truck where his wife was at the wheel, and that he told her that they weren’t allowed to go anywhere. He said she put the truck into drive, and then the officer began knocking on the window.

More officers arrived during an ensuing altercation, and Adam said one of the officers “just gave me a, what you would call in the wrestling world, a clothesline” and that he fought to maintain consciousness.

“Every time our people do wrong… (the RCMP) always seem to use excessive force and that has to stop … Enough is enough,” Adam told reporters Saturday.

Adam and his lawyer released two videos taken by bystanders of the incident. Police say they also have video, which has been viewed by Adam’s lawyer, but that the force isn’t releasing to the public.

Adam will appear in Wood Buffalo Provincial court on July 2.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has said the issue of systemic racism in policing is long-standing and needs addressing.

During his time as Toronto’s police chief, Blair would fight off calls for his resignation after hundreds of protesters were rounded up on Toronto’s streets during the G20 summit protests in 2010.

The Canadian Press


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Want to support local journalism during the pandemic? Make a donation here.

Policeracism

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Rod Alsop and the LSS band had a great day holding class outdoors at Transfer Beach. (Cole Schisler photo)
Ladysmith Secondary School band takes class outside to mark the end of academic quarter

The band took advantage of a sunny January day to play outside

Jessica Lowry created a series of videos to engage Ladysmith Intermediate School students in mindfulness. (Submitted photo)
Ladysmith Intermediate teams up with local artist to introduce students to mindfulness

Ladysmith artist Jessica Lowry created a series of 36 videos to help students practice mindfulness

Luke Marston works on the seawolf mask for Canucks goalie Braden Holtby. (Mike Wavrecan photo)
Stz’uminus artist Luke Marston designs new mask for Canucks goalie

The mask features artwork inspired by the Coast Salish legend of the sea wolf

Scott Saywell, Nanaimo Ladysmith Public Schools’ superintendent and CEO, has seen his contract renewed for four years, the district announced Wednesday. (SD68 YouTube screenshot)
Ladysmith school district renews superintendent’s contract for four years

‘Singing superintendent’ Scott Saywell under contract through 2024-25 school year

Emergency services were on scene at 1st Avenue and Warren Street after a skateboarder was struck by a vehicle. (Submitted photo)
Skateboarder ‘bumped’ by vehicle on 1st Avenue

Emergency services personnel say the skateboarder is uninjured

Syringe is prepared with one of B.C.’s first vials of Pfizer vaccine to prevent COVID-19, Victoria, Dec. 22, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 caseload stays steady with 465 more Tuesday

No new outbreaks in health care facilities, 12 more deaths

An Atlantic salmon is seen during a Department of Fisheries and Oceans fish health audit at a fish farm near Campbell River, B.C. in 2018. Mowi Canada has applied to the Federal Court of Canada for a judicial review of the decision by Fisheries Minister Bernadette Jordan to phase out salmon farming in the Discovery Islands by June, 2022. (Canadian Press/Jonathan Hayward photo)
Major B.C. salmon farm seeks court intervention in Discovery Islands ban

Fisheries minister is phasing out operations in the area by June 2022

(Black Press Media files)
Woman steals bottles of wine after brandishing stun baton in New Westminster

Police say the female suspect was wearing a beige trench coat with fur lining

Toronto’s Mass Vaccination Clinic is shown on Sunday January 17, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
Canadian malls, conference centres, hotels offer up space for COVID vaccination centres

Commercial real estate association REALPAC said that a similar initiative was seeing success in the U.K.

Kamala Harris and Joe Biden are sworn into office on Wednesday, Jan. 20, 2021, at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. (Saul Loeb/Pool Photo via AP)
Joe Biden has been sworn in as the 46th president of the United States

About 25,000 National Guard members have been dispatched to Washington

The objectives of the Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society include peer support for parents and caregivers, as well as developing support services, projects, educational and employment opportunities for people with Down Syndrome. Photo supplied.
Vancouver Island Down Syndrome Society offers support for families in the community

New non-profit seeking directors in cities across Vancouver Island

A memorial for the fatal bus crash involving the Humboldt Broncos hockey team at the intersection of Highways 35 and 335 near Tisdale, Tuesday, October 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Liam Richards
‘End of the road:’ Truck driver in Humboldt Broncos crash awaits deportation decision

Sidhu was sentenced almost two years ago to eight years after pleading guilty to dangerous driving

Stand up paddleboarder Christie Jamieson is humbled to her knees as a pod of transient orcas put on a dramatic show on Jan. 19 in the Ucluelet Harbour. (Nora O’Malley photo)
UPDATED WITH VIDEO: Vancouver Island paddle boarder surrounded by pod of orcas

“My whole body is still shaking. I don’t even know what to do with this energy.”

Cumberland photographer Sara Kemper recently took the top spot in a Canadian Geographic photography contest. Photo by Sara Kemper
B.C. photographer takes top Canadian Geographic photo prize

Sara Kemper shows what home means to her in Comox Valley photo

Most Read